Thursday, January 15, 2015


I hike. Period. 
Running is for 20 something's who want to stay buff and live forever.
So, why do I suddenly find myself running? Several colleagues from my school decided to run in the KOMEN WEST VIRGINIA RACE FOR THE CURE®.
A 5k race on May 2, 2015.
They formed a team and started recruiting members. I avoided them in the halls, said no several times, blustered about being a hiker, not a runner but finally gave in. 
         It was not a hard decision really, my wife is a breast cancer survivor. 12 years now.
So, I find myself in the evenings, in the dark, frozen fields around my home,  alternately walking and jogging, following an iPhone app called C25k ,Couch to 5k. A program that helps you prepare for a 5k race in seven weeks. During tonight's 30 minute workout, I covered 2.1 miles. 
Last year the first 275 finishers made the 3.1 miles in 30 minutes or less. The next 175 made it in less than 45 minutes. So my goal is between 30 and 45 minutes.    

I've setup a personal page where you can read more about my race and the event:

Where are the Wildflowers in this post? Well, when I am jogging around that field, I find myself saying, 'there's the spot where Slender Ladies Tresses will be this fall', and 'there's the Nodding Ladies Tresses', and 'over there is Reclining St. Andrew's Cross.'
So, today is the day when meteorological winter is half over and I think I can make it to spring wildflower season now; if this running stuff doesn't kill me first..   

We Race Because…

One in eight women in the U.S. will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime.
Because every minute, somewhere in the world, someone dies from breast cancer.
And because, breast cancer knows no boundaries- be it age, gender, socio-economic status or geographic location.
We continue to Race because at the current rate, 13 million breast cancer deaths around the world will occur in the next 25 years.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015


What do you do when it's -1 degrees Fahrenheit?
You read about Wildflowers, of course. 

An Artic Blast is affecting much of the East and South thus week. So it's the perfect time to read or reread Nature books. 

Besides the one above, I also have on my desk:
Blue Ridge Nature Journal:: Reflections on the Appalachian Mountains in Essays and Art by George Ellison
Orchid Fever: A Horticultural Tale of Love, Lust, and Lunacy by Eric Hansen
Those three new ones plus browsing through Bentley's Native Orchids of the Southern Appalachian Mountains and Frederick W. Case’s Trilliums should occupy me for quite awhile. 
 Hansen's essays include his classic account of traveling to Turkey to find an ice cream made of local native orchid root.  
So, bitter cold is not all bad. 

Ode to the West WindPercy Bysshe Shelley
O WILD West Wind, thou breath of Autumn's being— 
Thou from whose unseen presence the leaves dead 
Are driven, like ghosts from an enchanter fleeing, 
Yellow, and black, and pale, and hectic red, 
Pestilence-stricken multitudes!—O thou         5
Who chariotest to their dark wintry bed 
The wing├Ęd seeds, where they lie cold and low, 
Each like a corpse within its grave, until 
Thine azure sister of the Spring shall blow 
Her clarion o'er the dreaming earth, and fill  10
(Driving sweet buds like flocks to feed in air) 
With living hues and odours plain and hill— 
Wild Spirit, which art moving everywhere— 
Destroyer and Preserver—hear, O hear!
    ...... If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?

Winter is the season in which people try to keep the house as warm as it was in the summer, when they complained about the heat. ~Author Unknown

Friday, January 2, 2015

Year Three - 2015

This begins year three of this blog, which chronicles my quest to find and photograph as many Wildflowers in West Virginia as possible. In 2013, I found and photographed 308 different wildflowers. In 2014, I added another 25. I hope to add more this year as well as revisit old favorites. I will be playing around with macro photography along with a ring flash.
      Today I hiked into the hills around my home. Last October, we were hit by a rare West Virginia tornado which flattened many acres of of forest. The owners of the farm accross the road from me have allowed loggers to begin recovering the fallen trees as well as a large portion of the woods there. I have been able to roam over that property for 40 years and I enjoy it very much. I have hiked, hunted, fished and gathered Morels and Ramps there. One of my favorite hikes is to walk up the hill across the road and around the ridge and come back down on the back of our property. A hour or so hike and a mile or more through mature forest and fields. Today, I saw the results of the logging. I have no problems with land owners allowing logging on their property, but I have to wonder if there is some better way to accomplish it. 
This is the remains of a natural spring that used to feed a wet gully where I could find purple trillium and   even Ginseng. It was so steep that it escaped logging in the past, probally 80 years ago. Now, I can't see how it will recover. I know the natural progression is briars and thorny brush, then bushes and trees and maybe in 20-30 years or so, a decent forest again. I have even thought about trying to find the trillium before it quits growing in the now sunny area. But, I suppose it somehow made it those many years ago to re-establish, so it will again.

                                     A walnut tree that I remember well. 

                                    Many Morel mushrooms were gathered here

I recently saw a bumper sticker that said 'If you object to logging, try plastic toilet paper.'
I really get that, but the bull dozed roads, clogged streams and springs, wasted wood and spilled fuel seem very wrong. So much so that we decided to not take an offer from loggers to do the same on our farm. We will harvest what we can for firewood and let the rest lie and decay naturally. 
        Now days, I have on my mind some Trillium that I found near Camp Creek State Park. They were in a remote and hard to get to area, where I had found some Appalachian Twayblade Orchids. I can hardly wait to get back there this Spring to see them.

"Sadly, it's much easier to create a desert than a forest."

— James Lovelock

"God has cared for these trees, saved them from drought, disease, avalanches, and a thousand tempests and floods. But he cannot save them from fools."

— John Muir

"If a man walks in the woods for love of them half of each day, he is in danger of being regarded as a loafer. But if he spends his days as a speculator, shearing off those woods and making the earth bald before her time, he is deemed an industrious and enterprising citizen."

— Henry David Thoreau

Sunday, November 2, 2014

November- Is it Fall or Winter

How quickly the seasons change. It was a very pleasant fall, though hectic at times.
Now, Winter has made a sudden appearance.
So, I have filled the feeders, brushed up on the difference between House and Purple Finches, and am getting ready to settle in for cold weather. 
I'll be out and about, hiking, 
fishing (just to show that I'm not too old to fish in Winter), 
and generally enjoying Wild Wonderful West Virginia
Witch Hazel Blooms Nov 1

Dandelion in frost

October 31, 2014
Everything has seasons, and we have to be able to recognize when something's time has passed and be able to move into the next season. Everything that is alive requires pruning as well, which is a great metaphor for endings.   
Henry Cloud

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Tornado and Fall

On Tuesday Oct 7 at 10:40 P, I awoke during a thunderstorm to hear the sound of a freight train near my home. It turned out to be a  EF-2 tornado which devastated parts of Southern West Virginia (Click here for Newspaper article). My home and all the bulidings on the farm  were spared but hundreds of trees including the entire fruit orchard were blown over and destroyed. We lost power for 24 hours and were temporarily blocked in by the damage. We are normally sheltered from this type of storm having only seven confirmed tornados in this county since 1950.
       We were blessed to have so little damage to life and property. During the tornado, I only had time to say uh ohh and to pray and I am thankful to the Lord that we were spared. It will take months and maybe  years to clean up, but I do understand how much worse it could have been. 
Below are some pictures of damage, but also of awesome fall colors of West Virginia 

Trees all around the barn fell, but only a sweet cherry tree fell against it but caused no damage.
 This is less than a 1000 feet from my home 

A Red Heart Cherry fell on the barn. This is after I cleared most of it off and saw there was almost no damage

Surveying damage after several hours of chainsaw work.
Their may be months or years of work here 
Here, trees didn't fall or break, but were violently twisted in two
Early Fall color at Grandview
Fall at Home 

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

September Crusin'

I got myself talked into a Western Caribbean Cruise, Grandkids can accomplish things like that.
Needless to say, I was bored silly a lot of the time, but there were highlights.
I saw Myan Ruins in Mexico and some flowers in several places.
There will be some pictures below of the ruins and flowers, but the most interesting day was coming home when we were 245 miles from the nearest land and a hawk like bird started flying around the ship and landed several times. I began stalking with a camera and long lens and actually got pretty close to him.
I believe it was a Peregrine Falcon, If you have a better ID please let me know.